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Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

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j                        BYZANTINE ARCHITECTURE                       19
Doors and Windows,—It is a primary rule in Byzantine architecture that all constructive openings are arched. Whatever may be the eventual form of a door or window the opening is first built in brick with a semicircular head, and into this opening the marble jambs and lining are fitted leaving a semicircular lunette above. Doors are square-headed, with heavily moulded architraves and cornice, and the lintel is mitred into the jambs instead of having the more constructive horizontal joint used in the West.
The doors made of wood or of wood lined with bronze, swing on top and bottom pivots which turned in bronze-lined sockets in lintel and threshold. They closed with a rebate in the jambs and against the raised threshold. Windows were sometimes filled in a similar manner, as in the palace of the Porphyrogenitus and in the north gallery of S. Saviour in the Chora (Fig. 100). In the latter double windows or shutters were employed, opening inwards in the same way as did the doors. These shutters may perhaps be regarded as domestic, for in the churches, as is still seen in S. Sophia though the arrangement has vanished elsewhere, the entire arched opening was usually filled in with a pierced marble grille.
In addition to the simple round-headed windows double and triple windows are found. Double windows were naturally formed by dividing the single arch by a central pier. This method presented two varieties : either the pier was continued up to the containing arch, thus giving two pointed lights, or the two lights were covered by separate arches within the main arch. Both methods are used in the narthex of S. Theodore (p. 247). Another variety was produced by placing two single lights together, with a shaft between them instead of the central pier. But as double windows are not very satisfactory, triple windows are more common. In this case both the methods just described of forming the windows were adopted. A large semicircular opening divided by two piers will give an arched light between two pointed lights, or three arched lights, as in the narthex of S. Theodore. In the former case, if